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Payout for girl bitten by circus monkey

A girl bitten by a circus monkey during a live performance in the Republic of Ireland has settled her court action for €5,000.

Saoirse Coffey, who was five at the time, sued through her mother Jackie Sexton of Oakview, Tralee, Co Kerry.

She was at the circus on July 16, 2007, and was in the animal viewing area feeding the horses with hay when attacked, counsel Henry Downing told the Circuit Civil Court in Tralee.

Her action was brought against the operators of Circus New York performing at the mart in Tralee on the occasion.

The defendants, described as operators of the circus, were Richard Courtney, Wayne James Courtney, both of The Heath, Portlaoise, and Melanie Alcarax--Alvarez of Hanover, Germany.

Judge Ray Fulham approved settlement.

The plaintiff claimed she was attacked by a monkey because of the negligence of the defendants, further claiming that the animal viewing area at the circus was dangerous and unsafe and not sufficiently supervised. The court heard she suffered severe shock after being bitten in the finger and that she had been scratched in the arms, face and both legs.

She was administered five rabies vaccinations between July and August of that year.

Counsel said Saoirse had made a full recovery a month after the incident. There were no blemishes.

The court was told that a witness on behalf of the defendants claimed the mother had told the child to go behind the security barrier to get a photograph -- and the monkey, which was on a chain -- was then able to attack her. The mother denied this, saying she already had a photo of the child with the monkey.

Judge Fulham commented that the offer of €5,000 was reasonable in the circumstances.

Source Irish Independent

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